Ford first introduced the Ranger in 1982 with its early release of the 1983 model. The initial Ranger was available as a two-wheel drive only, but released a four-wheel drive model later that year. Ford drew inspiration for its design from the Ford F-series pickup truck.
The initial model year offered two bed sizes and wheelbases, including both 6- and 7-foot options, with the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine the only option on the first release. With the four-wheel drive release, Ford offered a 2.8-liter V-6 engine with 115 horsepower, an upgrade from the previous engine's 80 horsepower design. The four-wheel drive Ford Ranger also offered the capacity to haul up to 1,600 lbs.